The Wide Expanse That is Certain Death

January 11, 2008
By Kevin Urquhart, Orem, UT

My worst fear is water. Yes water. Not the kind we drink, but just about every other kind. Lakes, rivers, oceans, ponds, seas, bogs, marshes, holes, streams, creeks, pools (yes, I mean swimming pools)... whatever you want to call it, it scares me, and, I know why. First of all, water is powerful. They say that erosion is mostly caused by water. Have you seen the Grand Canyon? Look at that, and tell me that water is not scary. If it can carve a hole that big in the Earth, think of what it can do to a boy that's about, hm, I don't know, 5'3'' and 100 pounds. Yeah, not a pretty sight. Unless you think bones, blood, and bits of flesh are pretty, and if you do, then I hope I am never associated with you, and have no idea why you are reading this.
Secondly, I have had some bad experiences with water. One day, my three brothers and I were in a stream of sorts. It was very small, only about 3 feet tall (pretty tall compared to how little I was then though ) and about 15 feet wide. There was no current. There was a little barrier in it, but it didn't reach the bottom of the stream. There was just enough room for a boy of my size to fit through. My brothers encouraged me to try to slide through, but I told them I wanted no part of it. So my oldest brother Dan, who apparently really wanted me to go under that barrier (for reasons unknown to me), started shoving me down beneath the water, and tried to direct me beneath the barrier. Well he succeeded. I was stuck under there for at least twenty seconds, inhaling water, mud, and who knows what else. My head was bashed repeatedly against the solid wood barrier. I finally came up coughing up bubbles, and with a massive headache. I was shivering, but not because I was cold. I was scared to death. My heart had almost stopped, and I thought that I was going to die. Now, if Dan had pulled some stunt like that on me a few years later I would've attacked him ferociously, but at that age, I wouldn't have done that even if my shivering body would've let me. And that's all I remember.

Another bad experience came when I was eight years old. By that time, I could kind of swim, but I wasn't a great swimmer. I was at a rich family's house. They had an indoor pool, and that's where we were hanging out. They also had a slide leading into the pool, so I decided to go down it. As I was preparing to go down, my “best friend” Josh shoved me in the back, and I went spinning down the slide at an awkward angle. The way I hit the water, I had no chance of beginning to swim or turning over on my back so instead I began dog-paddling like mad. It must have looked like I was trying to bust a pair of bongo drums in, but I wasn't really worried about looking normal at the time. Well, I probably would have drowned, but apparently Josh realized his mistake and came to the rescue. He dragged me to safety. Nobody saw us, and I haven't told anyone about that. I don't think he has either. He claims he saved my life, but I don't think it counts if it's your fault that the person was in danger in the first place.

Another reason why I am terrified of water is the creatures in them. What kind of self-loving person (and believe me, I love myself a lot) isn't afraid of a giant body of water containing known killers like sharks, giant squids, whales, octopuses, or clownfish (that one was a joke). Not to mention the fact that there are probably millions of other vicious, people-eating creatures that we don't know about. Now I am speaking of ocean creatures here, but that 's because I have this insane fear that all these things can be found in the common lake, stream, creek, or pool. (Yes, I again am speaking of a swimming pool, the place where everyone likes to spend a hot summer's day.)

I heard the story of the Titanic way too young. Mr. Olsen, my fifth grade teacher is to blame. What kind of person tells a bunch of kids about a gigantor ship sinking in the middle of the ocean? I honestly cannot think of anything scarier than being stranded in the middle of the ocean, whether floating via life jacket, sitting in a lifeboat, or using other methods to stay afloat in the wide expanse that is certain death.

I have read about many captians, admirals, sailors and things who loved the water, and want to die at sea, and this and that, but those guys are nutters. Of all the places to die, why at sea? What a horrid place to be, let alone die.

And then there are the intangibles. There is something more than the Titanic, my bad experiences, and creepy creatures that is keeping me scared out of my wits on a boat, or even on the beach. I guess it's just the fact that the ocean is huge and unknown. If there's is something that is taking up two-thirds of my planet, I would like to know a heck of a lot about, and of the ocean, I know almost nothing.

So basically, if you want to completely creep me out, show me a movie about the ocean, and then take me fishing. After all, what could be better than fishing in the Wide Expanse that is Certain Death.

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